How to Clean Reusable Straws (Because Yours Is Likely Cloudy)

When people switch to reusable straws, it’s usually out of the best of intentions, which is to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills they generate every day. They are great the first time you use them, but soon the whole set is at the bottom of the sink and you run out of a clean straw.

Of course they came with this little tassel, but it takes effort. I’ll just rinse them off, you think. Or perhaps because you only use them for water, you assume that they are self-cleaning in some way. Unfortunately, this is not so. And like any other stain that is often exposed to moisture, reusable straws tend to fill up with bacteria.

Let’s say you’re in doubt, and let’s say that you would definitely start cleaning reusable straws if you only knew how to do it. Well, you’re in luck because Elsie Yang walks us through this process in an article on Well + Good . Here’s what you need to know.

How to clean reusable straws

Most reusable straws are made of metal, plastic, bamboo, or silicone, and the way you clean them depends on the type. Here are your options:

Small brush

One method that works for all types is using this small brush. “Create a mixture of soap and water and insert the brush into reusable straws of any material, rubbing back and forth to make sure you remove all particles,” writes Yang. “Then rinse off the soap with the straw.”


While technically all types of reusable straws are dishwasher safe, Yang notes that plastic straws break and deform over time. Metal, bamboo and silicon are all for this. But remember to place them on the prongs or in the silverware basket so that jets of water and detergent can enter the straw as well. Just putting them back in place won’t help.


Some silicone, metal, and bamboo straws can be sterilized in boiling water, Young said. But before you throw them in the pan, first read their washing instructions (in case it says you can’t do this).


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